Philadelphia Tattoo Removal – Are you thinking about having a tattoo removed? Do you have questions about the process of tattoo removal? If so, this article will introduce you to one of the basics of the tattoo removal process: how long it takes.

Rather than one simple answer this question, there are a number of factors that make tattoo removal a little bit different for every tattoo. A single tattoo removal session can take anywhere from a minute to an hour, and a complete tattoo removal often takes several sessions. Below are some of the factors that contribute to how long removing a tattoo takes.


Different colors may need to be treated with different wavelengths. If a tattoo has a lot of colors in it, the removal process may take longer as the technician stops and starts the treatment to use different wavelengths on the different colors.


A tattoo’s location on the body can also influence how long it takes to remove the tattoo. Some areas of the body are much more sensitive to the treatment than others. If a tattoo over a sensitive area of the body is small, that tattoo removal session may be started and stopped several times, with a cooling period in between each part of the session.

For larger tattoos over sensitive areas of the body, multiple sessions may be needed, since stopping and starting still may not be comfortable enough.


Larger tattoos, as you could probably imagine, take longer to remove than smaller tattoos. A larger tattoo means more ink, and more ink takes longer to remove. Larger tattoo removal areas also take a longer time for cleansing before the treatment and for cooling and dressing after the treatment.

In general, you can expect these approximate times for the tattoo removal itself (not including the cleansing, cooling, and dressing) based on size:

  • Up to 2.5 cm squared: One to two minutes
  • 2.6 to 5 cm squared: Two to five minutes
  • 5.1 to 10 cm squared: Ten to 15 minutes
  • 10.1 to 15 cm squared: 20 to 40 minutes
  • 15.1 cm squared and up: 40 to 60 minutes

Larger tattoos are sometimes broken down into smaller, more manageable “chunks” to make the removal process easier. This reduces the amount of swelling that the person experiences, provides more comfortable treatments, and allows for easier aftercare. As a general rule, a half-sleeve tattoo might be separated into two to three areas, a full-sleeve tattoo into four to five areas, and a full-back tattoo into six to eight areas.


Tattoos with a lot of dark fill-in, including many “tribal” designs, tend to cause more blistering and swelling because they absorb more heat during the tattoo removal process. Designs that have more shading and lighter fill-ins don’t absorb as much heat, so larger areas can be treated in a single session.

Now you understand some of the factors that can affect the amount of time it takes to remove a tattoo. Contact us to get an individual opinion on how long it will take to remove your specific tattoo.